Only communicate

Baroness Deech

A very interesting day on the Lords Select Committee on Communications yesterday.  In the morning we went to visit the nearly completed extension to Broadcasting House in Portland Place.  The inside is magnificent, although by no means all fitted out yet.  There will be a huge news room, and separate activities on the different floors around a dazzling atrium.  There is a spectacular view from the top over the spire of All Souls’ Langham Place and straight down Regent St. There will be a consolidation of the BBC’s activities and buildings in the coming years.  The cost is over £1bn, but – unlike that extravaganza the Olympics – it will last for decades.  I am certain the interior will be judged a success, but am less sure about the curved glass exterior.  Attractive in itself, but it does not seem to me to fit with the stately Portland stone and Eric Gill carvings of the art deco original, nor the Nash elegance of the Bath stone All Souls in front of it.

In the afternoon we took evidence from more journalists about investigative journalism and, by video link from New York, heard from Sir Harold Evans. In an impressive interview he reminded us of the great news stories of his time, the thalidomide disaster, the DC10, Kim Philby.  It seems that the US press is less inhibited (in every sense) than ours, but he was quite optimistic that investigative journalism will still flourish, despite the economic difficulties of local newspapers and the increasing move to digital news.  We shall see.

8 comments for “Only communicate

  1. DanFilson
    24/11/2011 at 12:09 am

    I haven’t altogether followed quite what the BBC is up to but basically they have moved a considerable amount of TV production north to Salford, at considerable disruption to the staff who moved and the cost of their jobs to whose who for whatever reason could not or would not, and at a considerable economic effect on West London through the loss of so many jobs directly or indirectly related to the BBC presence. There is also an artistic loss in that the presence of so many programme makers creates a kind of buzz which has spill overs to the arts generally. I can live with all this given the improved economic benefits to the north relative to the removal of work from the – in normal times – overheated south.

    But the expenditure of a billion pounds at Portland Place leaves me a little bemused. Does this mean the BBC management has not been slimmed down or now duplicates the management in Salford? What on earth justifies a billion pound presence in Portland Place?

  2. MilesJSD
    24/11/2011 at 2:35 am

    Millions of Britons knew at the time of the British media’s investigative-journalism*, into Money-Embezzlements by both Politicians and Bankers, that even the Protagonist “Telegraph” was under-exposing other and more serious habits of Corruption.

  3. MilesJSD
    24/11/2011 at 2:38 am

    * investigative-journalism should be more clearly disciplined as “investigative-reportage”
    (“Journalism” empowers the writer to set their own personally-stipulative definitions for what they are writing-about).

  4. maude elwes
    24/11/2011 at 12:25 pm

    It will become more difficult for Government to censor the media, and what people are permitted to know. The internet allows nations worldwide, at an unimaginable speed, to finally know what those who decide on our future are truly gaining personally from their decisions.

    The more those in power try to hide the facts, the more appealing it will become to individuals to know about each incident. And therefore, more difficult to censor the thoughts of a nation, as was possible in the past.

    Journalists will soon be out of work if more regulations are put on what they are permitted to tell the public.

    I am surprised they were allowed to reveal the annual payment of £8 million pounds T. Blair has recently signed up to receive from the tyrant who uses torturous methods on his public in Kazakhstan. Isn’t that the same people who bought Prince Andrews house for £3 million pounds more than the asking price and has left it to rot since?

    Of course people in power can always cut the energy supply off, as they do on occasion. But, in the end the message still permeates. Which will increase our knowledge daily, liked or not.

    And we are considered aggressive.

  5. maude elwes
    24/11/2011 at 7:17 pm

    After reading through this thread I remembered a study I had some years ago, on, Liberty of Thought and Discussion – John Stuart Mill 1869.

    And on reading it over again I was as moved as I had been first time. It covers just this matter. And here we are again, more than a hundred years later, being condemned for thought and the right to information.

    • MilesJSD
      26/11/2011 at 8:29 am

      thank you, Maude; not only ‘moving’ but ‘underpinning’ and ‘overarching’ , ‘classical’ writing, as I read it.

      Should be archived by LotB’s Hansard office and made freely available to the Public, especially as recommended reading amongsat the LotB e-site Reference library (which in a current blog I have asked Lotb/Hansard to institute as part of both this LotB service and Hansard’s Citizenship Education commitment).

      • maude elwes
        29/11/2011 at 5:57 pm

        How gallant of you Miles. Thank you.

  6. Twm
    26/11/2011 at 6:29 pm

    Whether Amazon charges to download Blog lords on to an E-reader I would not hazard to say, but what a ritual and ceremony Miles JSd would like to make out of a trivial message board!
    (Not the messages or its potential but the format).

    These could be electronic chambers for every one of the committees to do their formal work.

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